Oh Kerry Joseph, how times have changed.
After your magical 2007 season – when you were named a league all-star and the most outstanding player while guiding the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 23-19 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, giving the team its first Grey Cup since 1989 – fans of the Riders couldn’t wait for you to line-up at the helm the following season.
But then, Joseph, you got greedy.
After making $225,000 plus bonuses in 2007, which was considerably more money than many players were earning, you reportedly demanded a contract over $300,000. The Riders, who were trying to keep their Grey Cup winning squad together, could not afford this and shipped you off to the Toronto Argonauts, along with a third-round draft pick in 2010, for offensive tackle Glenn January, defensive lineman Ronald Flemons, a first-round pick in 2008 and a second-round pick in 2010.
In Toronto, you soon learned what it felt like playing on a team with an inexperienced coaching staff and a poor supporting cast. In your two years with the Riders, you threw for 7,491 yards, 46 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. During your two years with the Argonauts, you threw for 6,418 yards, 27 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
You weren’t only hurt on the stat sheet, Joseph. Your Toronto squad also performed horribly in the standings. In the last two seasons, Toronto finished with a combined record of 7-29-0, missing the playoffs on both occasions. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, finished with a combined record of 22-13-1, making the playoffs each year and earning a Grey Cup berth last season.
After your struggles last season, you were released. So far, you have found no suitors. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers decided to go with unknown quarterback Steven Jyles and the oft-injured pivot Buck Pierce instead of you and no other team is in dire need of a quarterback. Don’t expect a call from your former team, the Riders, anytime soon.
A return to the Riders may make sense to you. After all, at the age of 36, you don’t have many other prospects left. Why not play out the remaining years of your career with the team you had your most success with? Perhaps you could rekindle some of your old magic that made you the star of the Riders in 2007.
The situation certainly seems right. Behind starting pivot Darian Durant, the Riders have a lot of question marks after the departure of Steven Jyles. You could be an experienced backup and serves as a mentor to Durant.
The fans could forgive you for leaving. After all, it is not unheard of for a player to try and make as much money as possible.
But, what you might not understand Joseph, is that when you moved on with the Argonauts, the Riders moved on as well. Your departure allowed Durant to move into the spotlight. Durant has thrown for 5,484 yards, 31 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in his young career. Furthermore, the young pivot seems to be improving all the time. He is coming off a season in which he almost guided the Riders to a Grey Cup victory. Durant may be young, but he is in no need of a mentor.
As a team, Saskatchewan seems to be getting younger. Financially, it doesn’t make sense to be brining in aging quarterbacks, unless the price is absolutely ideal. You may be looking to rekindle some of your old magic, but the Riders have all the ingredients to create some magic of their own.
And, while some fans may rejoice in having you back, it seems the majority wouldn’t. They realize that you had your chance to stay with the team, but you decided to take the money. The fans thank you for the memories, but at this point it doesn’t look like any more memories will be made.
You won the Grey Cup, Joseph, and made your money in Toronto while struggling on a mediocre team. Now it is time to bear the consequences.